Chapter 1:

Chapter 1

Yuri next door

“Good work, everybody,” Kirin said to the students. “It’s already a little late, so let’s finish here and pick up again tomorrow. Take care when you go home.”Bookmark here

“Yes!” the students replied. They stopped whatever they were doing, organized their bags, and got ready to leave.Bookmark here

After they had left, Kirin walked down the corridor, checking the other classrooms for any student who stayed behind. After she was sure everybody had left, she went to the teacher’s lounge to report to her colleagues and pick up her belongings.Bookmark here

I love the school festival time, but it’s so tiresome, she thought, massaging her shoulders. Just because I’m the PE teacher, the students made me help carry the heavy stuff. Remember I’m a delicate girl, guys.Bookmark here

Despite the complaints and the sore muscles, she couldn’t help but smile. Though it was her third year as a teacher at Hyouzan high, it was the first time she was in charge of a class. The cosplay café was a simple idea, but she wanted it to be a success. But above that, she wanted her students to have fun. They might complain about the work, but I know they’ll miss it once they graduate. I still remember all my high school festivals.Bookmark here

As Kirin remembered, something caught her attention in the park that she used as a shortcut; there was a bald man and a blond woman making out. He looked like the typical salaryman who had just been through all the bars in the area. She seemed the same, but, the only difference was her dark blue short dress instead of a suit.Bookmark here

I like drinking, but that’s a little too much. And they should go to a love hotel instead of making out in the open, Kirin thought, ignoring them. When they got louder, she could no longer ignore and look at them. Then she noticed; the man was trying to kiss the woman, who was trying to dismiss and reject him without being rude.Bookmark here

Without thinking twice, Kirin made her way towards them.Bookmark here

“There you are!” she said as loud as she could without screaming, waving at the woman. She grabbed the woman by the wrist with a smile plastered on her face. “I’ve been looking for you!”Bookmark here

“You know Mari-san?” the man asked, glaring at her. Because of the booze, he couldn’t keep still, swaying slightly. Bookmark here

Thanks for telling me her name.Bookmark here

“Yes. Mari called me to pick her up because she had a little too much to drink,” Kirin said, pulling the woman away from him. Then she bowed to him. “Thanks for taking care of her until I got here. C’mon, Mari. Let’s go home.”Bookmark here

“Yes!” the woman shouted, beaming, her cheeks red because of the alcohol. As she let Kirin lead, she waved to the salaryman. “Bye, bye. Hope I’ll see you again at the club.”Bookmark here

When they left the park and the confused-looking man behind, Kirin let go of her. “I don’t think he’ll come after you.”Bookmark here

“Thanks for saving me!” Mari almost shouted in the same drunk and happy voice. “He’s a good client, but when he drinks too much, he always tries to get me in bed.”Bookmark here

“Client?”Bookmark here

“I work at a hostess club.”Bookmark here

“Is it one of those places where older men pay to drink with pretty ladies?”Bookmark here

“Yes!”Bookmark here

“I see.” I thought those only existed in movies, Kirin thought. Then she noticed Mari was smiling at her in a strange way. “W-what?”Bookmark here

“You called me pretty.”Bookmark here

“You are,” Kirin mumbled, blushing. Why am I blushing like a high school girl? Guess I’m spending too much time with them. “A-anyway, please be careful on your way home,” she said a little louder than necessary to hide her embarrassment.Bookmark here

“Okay! Bye. Bye!” Mari waved at her.Bookmark here

“Can you get home?”Bookmark here

“My home is nearby!”Bookmark here

“O-okay then…” Bookmark here

Kirin turned around, and had barely taken five steps when she heard the sound of someone tripping behind her. When she looked back, she saw the drunken woman using the wall of the store to support herself. She tried to walk again but tripped and almost fell.Bookmark here

Kirin watched for a couple of seconds before letting out a heavy sigh. She walked back to the woman and turned her back to her. “I’ll carry you.”Bookmark here

Mari looked confused as if the alcohol was making her take longer to understand. Then she beamed and climbed on Kirin’s back, wrapping her arms around the teacher’s neck. “You’re my knight!”Bookmark here

“Sure…” My back is gonna kill me tomorrow. And I’m still young… “Please, don’t speak so much. You reek of alcohol.”Bookmark here

“Ah! That’s rude! What kind of knight would say that to his princess?” Mari protested, pouting and waving one arm.Bookmark here

“H-hey, don’t move too much!” Kirin complained as she struggled to keep standing. “And who says I’m a knight? Actually, who says you’re a princess? I doubt princesses would get this drunk.”Bookmark here

“You’re thinking of old-time princesses.” Mari’s blond hair swayed as she shook her head. Then she leaned closer and whispered in the teacher’s ear. “I’m a modern princess.”Bookmark here

A shiver ran throughout Kirin’s body. “Y-yeah, whatever. Just tell me where you live so I can take you home. Hope it’s close,” she muttered under her breath.Bookmark here

“No!” Mari said in a determined and somewhat childish voice.Bookmark here

“Why?”Bookmark here

“Because my mom taught me I shouldn’t tell strangers where I live.”Bookmark here

Kirin stood still for a moment. Then she sighed. “That’s good and all, but right now, I’m trying to take you home.”Bookmark here

“No!”Bookmark here

“Fine.” Kirin gave up. She was too tired to argue with a drunkard. “Then I’ll take you to my home. You can rest until you’re good enough to go home on your own. Is that okay?”Bookmark here

“Yes!” Mari said in the same childish voice. Bookmark here

“So you won’t tell me where you live because I’m a stranger, but you’ll go to my home?” Kirin muttered with a snort. “Didn’t your mom teach you to not go with strangers?”Bookmark here

“Yes. And also to not accept candy!” Mari completed. “But you’re my knight. I know you won’t do anything lewd with me.”Bookmark here

“L-lewd? We’re both women,” Kirin said in a low voice, her cheeks reddening slightly. Did she realize? No, there’s no way…Bookmark here

“That doesn’t matter. A woman can love another just like a man can love another,” she whispered, her voice suddenly sharp and didn’t sound drunk at all. “But I can tell you wouldn’t take advantage of me.”Bookmark here

“I-I see,” was all Kirin said. She should’ve used that intuition to avoid that salaryman.Bookmark here

There was no more conversation until they reached Kirin’s apartment complex. Part of that was because Mari fell asleep, though she mumbled a couple of times. Then she woke agitated.Bookmark here

“W-what’s wrong?” Kirin asked, struggling to keep standing while Mari pointed at the apartment complex.Bookmark here

“You’re a stalker!” she shouted suddenlyBookmark here

“What? Why?”Bookmark here

“Because this is where I live! Apartment 104!” Mari exclaimed. “You couldn’t know that unless you’re stalking me! A knight stalking his princess!”Bookmark here

“You live here too?” Kirin didn’t hide her surprise. “And you’re my next-door neighbor?”Bookmark here

That was how Kirin found out that Mari, her future wife, lived by her side.
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